Some interesting facts about reptiles:-
NANO – CHAMELEON
The world’s smallest-known reptile is about the size of a sunflower seed!
Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa, is home to some of the world’s most exciting and unique animal species — about 75 percent of which cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. These include the long-necked giraffe weevil, the colorful, cat-sized panther chameleon, and the bright orange-red tomato frog! The latest to join this impressive list of exotic creatures is a new reptile species small enough to perch on the tip of a finger !
Scientists believe they may have discovered the smallest reptile on earth – a chameleon subspecies that is the size of a seed.
The two adult specimens — a male and a female — of the Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon, were discovered in Northern Madagascar’s rainforests by an expedition team led by Dr. Frank Glaw, a herpetologist at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich, Germany. The male nano-chameleon, which measured 13.5 mm (0.5 inches) from snout to vent — with a total length of 22 mm (0.87 inches) — is the smallest among all the world’s 11,500 known reptile species.The size of the female is way bigger at around 29 mm.
A male Brookesia nana. Photo by Dr Frank Glaw a German herpetologist working at the Zoologische Staatssammlung München
This so-called nano-chameleon is about the size of a sunflower seed, fits on the tip of a finger, and may be the smallest reptile on Earth.
Officially known as Brookesia nana, or B. nana for short, the new species is so tiny it’s thought to survive on a diet of mites and springtails, which it hunts down in leaf litter.
Like other chameleons, this tiny reptile possesses a projectile tongue which it uses to nab prey. The creatures have found a successful niche in their native habitat, hunting by day on the rainforest floor and retreating to the safety of grass blades at night.
Threats to the survival of Brookesia Nana:
The sustained destruction of forests in northern Madagascar threatens its survival.
As per Glaw, “Habitat destruction is the biggest threat to the amphibians and reptiles of Madagascar.”
Climate change may be a reason in the future but for now, it is deforestation.
Since the mid-20th century, Madagascar has lost about 45 per cent of its forest cover.
B. nana and another mini-chameleon discovered on a small island of Madagascar are especially vulnerable because their range is very small.
Some interesting facts about birds:–
1)Hoatzin chicks are born with claws on their wings.
2)A flamingo can eat only when its head is upside down.
3)Humming birds can fly backwards.
4)A bird’s feathers weigh more than it’s skeleton.To Make them more lightweight, most birds do not have bladders to store urine. Rather than producing liquid urine to get rid of wastes, they produce a white pasty substance.
5)The smallest bird egg belongs to the humming bird and is the size of a pea.
6)Owls can turn their heads almost 360 ‘ but they cannot move their eyes.
7)Ostriches have the largest eyes in any mammal on land.
8)Kiwi birds are blind, so they hunt by smell.
9)Crows have the largest cerebral hemispheres (brains), relative to body size, of any avian family.
10)Northern Mockingbirds can learn as many as 200 songs, and often mimic sounds in their environment including other birds, car alarms, and creaky gates.
11)The Sword-billed Hummingbird is the only bird with a bill longer than its body.
12)A green woodpecker can eat as many as 2,000 ants per day.
13)The song of a European wren is made of more than 700 different notes a minute and can be heard 1,650 feet (500 m) away.
14)Lighthouses are dangerous for birds. The beams attract birds, especially in misty conditions, and many are killed when they fly into the glass.
15)Birds sense winter is coming by changes in hormones that cause them to put on fat,the changing length of the day, and sensing small changes in air pressure, which is important in predicting weather changes.
16)Hoatzins are the only living birds with functional claws on their wings, a trait they lose as adults.
The chicks use their claws to climb back into trees after dropping in the water to escape predators. . “There is no other bird that moves the wings in such a way, because all the other birds flap.
Hoatzin, (Opisthocomus hoazin), primitive chicken-sized bird of South American swamps, principally in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. The young possess two large claws on each wing, a trait that has led some scientists to link the species with the fossil Archaeopteryx of the dinosaur era.
Hoatzin chicks are naked, and proof of the old aphorism “a face only a mother could love.” But beauty does not count: what does count is the tiny claws on the chick’s wings. The claws help the chick to hold on as it moves through the branches. But even if it should tumble off the branch and fall into the water below, the hoatzin chick can swim to the nearest branch or tree trunk and climb back up the tree into the nest.
The hoatzin is the only bird with a digestive system that ferments vegetation as a cow does, which enables it to eat leaves and buds exclusively. Hoatzins feed on swamp plants, grinding foliage in a greatly enlarged crop (not the gizzard, as in other birds).
Food fermentation produces unique and unpleasant smell (a manure-like smell), which is why hoatzin is also known as “stinkbird” or “stinking pheasant”
Adults can fly clumsily for short distances, but they spend most of their time perched, digesting their leafy food. A large rubbery callus on the bird’s breastbone acts as a tripod to keep it from falling over when its stomach is distended.
Average lifespan of the hoatzin is 15 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.
The chick’s wing claws are interesting, but they aren’t entirely unique. Some turaco chicks also have claws on their wings. Turacos are arboreal and herbivorous birds that live in Africa.
Some interesting facts about marine species:-
?Do fish sleep?
The question of sleep in fish is a complicated one.The simple answer is yes! They are sleeping, and they can sleep at any time during the day or night. Fish do sleep with their eyes open, because they don’t have eyelids they don’t need them underwater because dust can’t get in their eyes (except for some sharks) to close ! Moreover, they do not show signs of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is why it isn’t easy to analyse whether they are sleeping or not. Most fishes stay awake during the day and sleep at night, while some fishes are nocturnal as they tend to be active at night. An interesting fact about fishes is that even while they are sleeping, they stay alert to dangers and can make a quick escape whenever they sense jeopardy. Generally, we associate sleep in mammals with three distinguishing factors:
(1) closed eyes,
(2) a circadian, or daily, period of rest, and
(3) reduced activity in the neocortex, a special part of the brain that helps with sight and hearing.
Fish, however, lack both eyelids and a neocortex! So the question of sleep is more about the fish’s behaviour, and whether they exhibit this circadian period of reduced activity and responsiveness to stimuli. For most species of fish, this is the case! Many species like our favorite garibaldi, kelp bass, and blacksmith, rest at the bottom of their habitats at night with no detectable eye movement, lower respiratory rates, and slowed responses to stimuli. You can even see some sleeping in our tanks!
Certain fish also choose specific spots to sleep in order to avoid predators. There are some typical shelters, such as holes and crevices, underneath ledges, amidst vegetation, inside sponges, or buried in sand.
Parrot fish make a mucus cocoon around themselves at night — a gross, sticky sleeping bag which might protect them from parasites attacking them while they sleep.
Dolphins shut off one hemisphere of their brain to provide it with rest and enter a state of sleep called hemispheric slow wave sleep. The active half of their brains makes sure that they are swimming continuously and keeps track of things around them, while the inactive half sleeps. After a period of time, the roles are reversed. Dolphins are just as smart as everyone thinks they are, apparently.’Another characteristics include”homeostatic regulation”.
It has been observed in zebrafish. At night, zebrafish appear to float in the water column, either horizontally or with the head slightly up. The frequency of mouth and gill movement is reduced by almost half and they are twice as hard to arouse as during the day. If they are deprived of this sleep-like behaviour, the sleep bouts thereafter are longer and the arousal threshold is higher than usual, suggesting a rebound effect.Similarly, in the convict cichlid, activity decreases on days that follow an experimental disruption of the fish’s normal rest behaviour at night.
Some fish, like tuna and some sharks, have to swim all the time so that they can breathe. Its likely that these fish sleep with half their brain at a time, just like dolphins.
If you’ve ever watched a goldfish very close, you’ve probably noticed the times when it’s sleeping. It might hover near the bottom of the tank in a trance-like state. If you put food in the tank during this time, you’ve probably noticed that it takes longer for the goldfish to respond, just like you might have a hard time waking up from a good night’s sleep .
Diurnal damselfish normally sleep motionless in crevices within coral reefs at night, but three species (the green chromis, the marginate dascyllus and the whitetail dascyllus) spend the night between coral branches where they beat their fins at a rate about twice that of normal daytime swimming. This creates water currents that keep the inner zone of the coral (and thus the fish themselves) well oxygenated, at levels about four times higher than in the absence of the fish.
Though the fish are active (mostly in a repetitive way), they do not respond to light or to the presence of potential predators. The researchers who documented this behaviour called it “sleep-swimming”.
Signs indicating my fish is asleep in my aquarium ?
Inactivity- Fish will hover and stop altogether or simply float in a calm spot in the tank while flicking their tails occasionally.Dimmed colours- While they are sleeping, a fish may mute their colours.Body postures- It is observed in many fishes that they keep their head up or down or lie on the substrate’s sides or by a leaf side.Sinking to the bottom- It is commonly seen in many fishes that they sleep on or close to the bottom of the tank.Lack of response- If a fish is not responding or reacting to anything, it is sleeping.Hide- A fish may hide or nestle into plants, hide behind the decor, or retreat to caves while sleeping.
?Do Shark have bones?
Shark don’t have bones. Sharks use their gills to filter oxygen from the water. They are a special type of fish known as “elasmobranch,” which translates into fish made of cartilaginous tissues – the clear gristly stuff that your ears and nose tip are made of. This category also includes rays, sawfish, and skates. Sharks do not have bones like other fish. Instead, they have a softer tissue called cartilage which is much lighter than bones and helps them to swim faster.Even more, the flexibility of cartilage gives sharks the capability to bend more elastically than boned fishes.Their cartilaginous skeletons are much lighter than true bone and their large livers are full of low-density oils, both helping them to be buoyant.Even though sharks don’t have bones, they still can fossilize. As most sharks age, they deposit calcium salts in their skeletal cartilage to strengthen it. The dried jaws of a shark appear and feel heavy and solid; much like bone. These same minerals allow most shark skeletal systems to fossilize quite nicely. The teeth have enamel so they show up in the fossil record too.